Downward-facing dog is the cornerstone of yoga. You're either flowing into it or out of it, and when you find yourself shaking in a particularly difficult pose, you return to it with relief. Despite its myriad benefits (it builds strength, relieves back pain, and eases anxiety), many people do this pose incorrectly and end up with a painful neck or back injury.
"People often do downward-facing dog wrong because of expectations. A picture they saw. How their neighbor looks," Miami-based yoga teacher Sara Quiriconi tells mbg. "It all comes down to the mind. How we carry our bodies in the poses and transitions says a lot about how we carry our lives off the mat and in day-to-day situations."
With that in mind, here's your guide to doing downward-facing dog correctly.