A young bull moose gets close during a yoga retreat at Tops'l Farm in Waldoboro. Checka Antifonario, the owner of Yogaway Retreats, said the moose stayed around for about three hours while she conducted a yoga class. Credit: Courtesy of Tammy Donaghey

Spiritual seekers have for centuries been drawn to yoga in search of harmony and balance with themselves and the world. When a group of yoga students gathered for a retreat in Waldoboro over the weekend, they may have found just that with a chance encounter with a moose.

Checka Antifonario, the owner of Yogaway Retreats, said she had just started leading a morning yoga class at Tops’l Farm when a young bull moose emerged from the woods.

“We paused class to enjoy what we thought would be a few minutes to watch the moose pass through the area, but he ended up staying close by and walking calmly around different parts of the yard near the big, open-doored barn where we were practicing yoga,” Antifonario said in an email Wednesday morning.

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She said the animal observed her class for almost three hours. It was an unusual encounter, she noted, adding she lived for two summers in Denali, Alaska, where she saw many moose, but none as curious as the young bull.

No one approached the moose, and the class continued.

Credit: Courtesy of Tammy Donaghey

As Antifonario led her students in a mantra meditation at the end the class, the moose, still observing them, began to kneel, appearing to strike a yoga pose — the downward dog.

“[I]t felt like he was part of the class!” Antifonario said. “When he kneeled down briefly after the mantra was over, it took our breath away and brought tears to our eyes.”

Antifonario, who teaches Vinyasa yoga, said it was a moving and memorable encounter for her and her students.

“Perhaps it was a gesture he offered us, perhaps he had been planning to lay down and changed his mind, who knows! But to be there and just exist in the moment was really magical, and I know our whole retreat group is so grateful for this once in a lifetime experience,” Antifonario said.

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After kneeling, the moose then approached the meditating yogis, coming only feet away from the barn door where he continued to observe them.

Tammy Donaghey of Massachusetts, who attended the retreat and filmed the encounter, told ABC affiliate WMTW that “It was truly an amazing experience, one we will all hold close to our hearts.”

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