I’ve heard many a teacher say (and said more than once myself): yoga is a LOT more than exercise. The physical postures (asana) are a mere sliver of the whole pie.
Many yogis will be quick to argue with you if you refer to it as a “sport,” or the slightly hurtful downgrade of “just stretching.”
At the same time, I first started going to yoga when I thought of it as exercise. It was exercise I’d heard would help me be calmer, but that was about all I knew, and honestly, that was enough to get me to show up the first several times. So if yoga is “just” exercise for you, I don’t want to knock that. Cool. I’m glad you’re there. I hope you get something good out of the experience. You’re a living, breathing being, worthy of feeling good and having the opportunity to take care of yourself in a room of supportive people.
And yes, yoga is a LOT more than what’s happening physically. Everyone I know who came to yoga for exercise eventually uncovered that. Keep showing up, have an open mind, and those other things will make sense over time.
However physical or spiritual practicing yoga is for you, just know: there’s no password or secret handshake. You’re always welcome in my class.