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Karate-Chopping Yoga: Richmond's Next Craze?

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Now 4025 Yoga, a new North Side studio, is bringing the latest celebrity-endorsed workout known as Budokon to Richmond before it becomes old news. "What I like to do is get ahead of the curve," studio owner Helen Campbell says.

In September, she says, 4025 Yoga will become the first place between Washington, D.C., and Charlotte, N.C., to offer classes in Budokon, a combination of yoga, martial arts drills and meditation. The regimen counts actresses Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox among its fans.

But interest in Budokon isn't driven purely by celebrity endorsements, Campbell says. Rather, people are attracted by the half-action, half-calm format. "A lot of people want a new cardio challenge," she says. "They want their yoga and their cardio in an hour and 15 minutes."

It's "yoga for flexibility and calm, martial arts for power and grace, meditation for relaxation and peace of mind," explains soft-spoken Budokon instructor Cameron Shayne in his introductory DVD.

Billy Blanks he's not. Shayne's mild eyes and droopy mustache make him look more like a mechanic at the corner filling station than a trainer to the stars. He packs a mean punch, though, and previously worked as a bodyguard for Sean Penn, Charlie Sheen and comedian Carrot Top.

"He doesn't look at this as a fitness class. It's really more of a discipline," says Deirdre Turner, the 4025 Yoga instructor who will teach the class. People who want to learn Budokon may desire sleek muscles more than inner radiance, but Turner says, "You can meditate and focus even if you're throwing kicks."

She's working to become certified, an arduous process that requires would-be acolytes to have years of experience in hatha yoga, martial arts and meditation, and to demonstrate their expertise on tape. The first Budokon classes at 4025 Yoga begin Sept. 17. — Melissa Scott Sinclair



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