Words carry with them significant meaning and power, so when Ann Mordine chose to name her company Chattra it was done with purpose and intent. "In India, you often hear the word- chattri, from the Sankirt chattra. I love the meaning of the word as well as its significance in both Hinduism and Buddhism, a parasol (which) symbolizes dignity and protection," explains Chattra founder Ann Mordine. She wanted to create items that supported one's sun salutations and meditations, so she created a yoga gear company.

Blending together Indian beauty and inspiration to one's yoga practice is the mission of Mordine's company. She started the company in April of 2014 after returning from India where she lived with her husband and their children for five years. The Indian people, architecture, textiles, heritage, art and market places all served as the inspiration.

In India, Modine discovered that the textiles tell a story. For example, a wedding sari is woven in tandem by a bride and groom. "For me, finding beautiful textiles in India is like being a kid in a candy store. The artisans really take pride in what they make, and it shows in their precision and skills. Each style, whether it be silk weaving in Kanchipurum and Varanasi, embroidery and mirror work in Punjab and Kutch, or block printing in Sanganeer in Rajasthan is culturally significant," adds Morine.


Ann Mordine doing a block print in India; photo used with her permission

Mordine credits Indian artist Indu Kapahi with Chattra's unique and beautiful block print design. The other Indian team includes block carvers, print artisans, designers and stichers. "They really make Chattra possible," adds Mordine.

Early on Mordine had the good fortune of meeting some influential people. The first time Mordine was showing Chattra at a Yoga Journal conference in New York, she met Maranda Pleasant, Founder/Editor THRIVE Magazine, Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine and Origin Magazine. Pleasant gave Mordine encouragement and recognized the unique artistry in the products. "It was so validating," Mordine says of Pleasant's support. "As you never really know how things will be received until you put it out there."

The Chattra founder was also embraced by the Yoga community. Elena Brower, Tal Rabinowitz, Melanie Salvatore- August all cheered Mordine onward. She is amazed by their good will. "Many lovely yoginis have said, 'Go Girl.'"

Not only did Mordine find inspiration for her designs in India, but it is here that she began her yoga practice. "I love how yoga morphs offering something new at different points in your day, your life."

Last year at age 55, in the United States, Mordine completed a 200 hour teacher training course; however, has no intent of teaching yoga. She offers, "My intent was to deepen my personal practice and knowledge, which I did, but the greater reward was the teachings on seeing--talk about transformative. I am so grateful for that experience."

To learn more about Chattra you can visit the website.

Kristin Meekhof is a licensed master's level social worker, a speaker, writer and author of the book, "A Widow's Guide to Healing: Gentle Support And Advice For The First 5 Years."