Between the sphincters and the freedom to move

Being a “Paula” teacher, people often ask me what this method is all about, and I find it hard to express succinctly. The Paula Method is unique in its approach to teaching and in assisting people to heal and restore balance in their bodies and lives.

I see the method as working on two different levels, which may appear contradictory, but which are interwoven and inseparable. I think of it as mathematics and art being taught at the same time; or maybe its only math, being taught at such a high level that it feels creative and free, while underneath all of the rules still apply, allowing us to understand why things are the way they are.

The way I think of it, Paula Garbourg contributed two major ideas to the understanding of how our body works and heals. The first was her understanding of the inner relationships between the ring muscles in the body (the sphincters) and their ability to heal and restore balance in other ring muscles if used correctly, and in harmony with one another. The second was her unique ability to teach her students how to allow the spontaneous healing movement that constantly takes place in our body to occur without it being disturbed, manipulated or stopped altogether.

These two major contributions co-exist within the Paula Method, allowing a treatment that is on the one hand very free, creative and individualistic, and on the other hand is based on a deep understanding of how the body works, and the inner relationships between muscles, organs and bodily systems. This equips both the teacher and student with the ability to approach the healing process in a very functional manner, while still allowing the body to lead the way and reveal the secrets to its own well-being.

Looking at my students doing their “free movement” exercises, allowing their bodies to lead the way, I can almost always analyze why the body “chose” to work the way it did during the session. Witnessing those moments of “magic”, I usually just marvel at what I see and let go of my analytic tendency. I am a witness, and I can probably discuss what has happened with my student later, if they ask for it. Usually this is unnecessary, as people just feel so good, and have their own stories to share about how they experienced their free movement happening from the inside. While it’s great to have the mathematics to explain a phenomenon and help solve problems, nature/our bodies functions perfectly well without these explanations; all that is needed is to tune in and allow the process to happen.