The principle of Yin and Yang comes from chinese philosophy were these two opposite principles and forces are thought to exist in all forms. When we look at that in relationship to yoga, Yang style practices are what most of us are familiar with; vinyasa, asthanga, hatha, etc. We predominantly focus on stretching and strengthening 'yang style tissues' which are muscles and their surrounding facia.
Yin aims to work on the deeper tissues of our joints, ligaments and deep fascial networks. We achieve this by putting mild stresses on these areas with long held postures, which we approach passively, with a relaxed effort. Most postures are supine and seated and can be held from anything to 3 - 20 minutes.
By placing mild stress on the connective tissues mainly around the lower part of the body - lower spine, hips, inner thighs, pelvis, the body will respond by making our tissues stronger and longer.
Yin also works on the myofascial meridian system as its roots lie in Daoist practices which combines ancient traditional acupuncture theory. The meridians or nadis in yoga science are energy lines in the body, if these networks do not function properly causing energy blockages, imbalances arise, which can manifest as disease. When these lines or pathways are open, then energy flows freely, promoting a harmonious balance within the body.
In our hectic and busy lives slowing down can be a challenge in itself. Within the practice of Yin we can find that balance, we slow down and find stillness, we shift from doing to being and allow for whatever experience to unfold in the process.
All the descriptions in the world will never truly explain the practice until you come and experience it for yourself.
Keep an eye out for workshops in 2017.