jim cupo

I am a 54 year old from Hawthorne, NJ with two sons and a wife of 27 years. I worked as a pressman for a printing company in Paterson, NJ for 15 years and then worked as a leak detection technician for the State of New Jersey at Passaic Valley Water Commission for 15 years. I have always enjoyed sports. I played soccer in high school. I practiced karate for 10 years. I have done weight training, CrossFit, and was involved in running for about nine years.

In October, 2015, I was trying to find an activity that worked around injuries. That’s when I found yoga. I now practice three or four times per week and have been working on practicing at home. I attend level 1, mixed, and level 2 classes.

I have cervical and temporal mandibular joint dystonia. Dystonia is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary muscle movement; for me it occurs in the head, neck, shoulder, and jaw. I have trouble with speech and chewing because of it. Yoga has helped me to keep my muscles elongated and body well aligned, while the relaxation helps to calm the dystonia. I have also had lower back pain that yoga has done more for in a month, with certain twists and decompression techniques, than chiropractors have been able to for years.

I can actually see and feel the progress from my practice. Some moves that seemed impossible are already doable with patience and practice. Yoga has helped me not be so hard on myself and to be more accepting of things that I can’t control. It has helped me be more at ease with my disability.

I sometimes find it challenging to stop thinking that if I can just get into that one pose, then I will be satisfied. There will always be another pose. I need to find and keep a yoga balance.

My favorite pose is Triangle Pose because I feel I have made a lot of progress with all the components that go into it. I’m still progressing at it and opening more into the twist. It just feels good to be maxed out. I like to work on the breathing in the twist and be relaxed at the same time.

I continue to go to yoga because I can see things coming together. I am starting to develop a yoga personality through the different movements that can only be achieved through repetition.

Outside of yoga I like to spend time with my family and do weight training in my gym. I am inspired by my sons because I want to set good examples through fitness and healthy lifestyle.

My favorite quote: “I can do things at 45, not because I can do a bunch of pull-ups, it’s because I do yoga!”—Tony Horton