Ceiba, or Java kapok,is the soft seed-hair fibre obtained from the fruit of the kapok tree or the kapok tree itself. The kapok is a gigantic tree of the tropical forest canopy and emergent layer. In full sun, the kapok tree can grow up to 4m per year, eventually reaching a height of 50m.
Kapok has many wonderful qualities, making it an ideal fibre to use in Yoga Bolsters and Meditation cushions. Kapok is an hypoallergenic fibre which is immune to all pests, including dust mites, perfect for asthmatics. It also has water and moisture repelling properties, reducing the risk of mould and mildew.
The Kapok tree is sustainable, needing no pesticides or irrigation in order to produce its wonderful fibre. In harvesting kapok fibre, the pods are either cut down or gathered when they fall, then broken open with mallets. The seed and fibre, removed from the pods by hand, are stirred in a basket; the seeds fall to the bottom, leaving the fibres free.
Kapok is not the only part of the tree that is used. The seeds may be processed to obtain oil for making soap, and the residue is used as fertilizer and cattle feed.
It is not unusual to find the Yoga Bolster or Meditation Cushion quite firm when you first start to use them for your home practice. In time the fibres will soften and become malleable, making them extremely comfortable.
Yoga King chooses to use Kapok in the Yoga Bolsters, Zafu and Zabuton, Pranayama pillow and crescent meditation cushions because of all the wonderful properties it has. Another advantage to kapok is that it is lighter than cotton, allowing the Yoga Bolster to be firmly filled and still only weighing 2.4kg, making it easy to transport.
I hope this information has helped you to understand Kapok just a little more.