Many people find that by seeking the “edge” of a sensation (starting to feel a stretch or stress), they are able to support their existing range of motion in a joint and sometimes improve the range of motion with continued practice. This is not a promise of Yin yoga, but a common experience.
Most people appreciate Yin because it supports them in starting or adding to a meditation practice. Because each pose is held for several minutes, the practitioner must get comfortable being uncomfortable – focusing their mind on their breath, the sensations of the body, or the experience of resting on the floor and props is more approachable than simply sitting still in a seated posture for 30 minutes. Public Yin Yoga classes typically run 60 minutes or more, but the body moves every few minutes, so the experience is a slightly disturbed meditative practice that is less likely to be interrupted by physical pain or discomfort.
For those seeking meditation, this is an excellent practice to approach stillness for periods of time. As Cal Newport suggests [hyperlink to podcast 10% Happier episode 188], long breaks from technology supports the body in recovering from a constant state of stress and anxiety. Yin yoga is among the practices that enable us to rediscover the benefits of these extended states of single-pointed focus.