i cannot even describe how my mother taught me to purl. I've never seen anybody else do it but I can purl a row that way faster than i can knit a row. but it involved me switching yarn between my right and left hands for knit vs purl
I finally FORCED myself to do the continental by doing a baby blanket so it wouldn't make any difference how uneven my stitches were. By the end of it, my stitches were even and I was so used to it that I don't even pick up the yarn in my right hand any longer.
I too had and still am experimenting with the purl. the way I do it, I twist my left wrist forward and yeah that aches after a while. Lately I've been trying to just catch the yarn by moving the right needle more but I need more practice at it.
the best video i've seen showed somebody tensioning the yarn with their middle finger and then dipping their pointer finger down to form the purl. I'm going to try that this weekend. starting another baby blanket