Is yoga a kind of religion? It seems like yoga is often thought of as a religious practice with the various Hindu deities, chants, new age language about the divine powers of the "universe" and devotional hymns. The practice could be construed as a religion and the studio a temple with the rituals, greetings and protection of the space as sacred. How is yoga not a religion and just a form or spirituality and what is the difference between the two?
Yoga has always focused on "perfect alignment," in which the spine returns to its natural positioning over time, as yoga is practiced. Because of yoga's focus, relaxation must actually be achieved at the same time as the asanas are being performed, which can actually be a challenge to those who have only done traditional exercise. Nonetheless, this "relaxation and focus" is key to yoga's benefits, and teach students concentration; as poses continue, focus can intensify to a meditative state.