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Religion divides spiritual West Aussies
Mitch Wells and Jessica Sandral happy at yoga. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

When it comes to matters of religion and spirituality, West Australians are pretty much divided.

The Bankwest Happiness Survey has found more than half of West Australians consider themselves religious and just over 40 per cent say they are spiritual in some way, with 54 per cent believing in the existence of a higher power.

However, just 13 per cent attend a place of worship weekly, two-thirds never attend and one in five attends only on special occasions such as Easter or Christmas, although three-quarters believe you don't have to attend a physical place of worship to be religious.

As for spirituality, more than half of us have taken part in some spiritual activity over the past year; about 50 per cent have practised prayer or meditation and more than a third have practised yoga.

One in four believes in or reads horoscopes and 38 per cent believe in karma. Marisa Guerrini, founder of Positive Force, said many people did not consider themselves to be spiritual because they did not know how to define it, so on deeper reflection the actual figure of people who were spiritual in some way was probably higher.

She said while spirituality or religiosity was not essential to overall happiness, "it is important in that it cultivates hope, and hope is very important to happiness".

Jullan Hand, who owns Y Yoga Studio in Doubleview, said she had found people turning increasingly to yoga, not just for the physical benefits but for the spiritual.

"The difference is in the mind - flexibility of the body is really a bonus in yoga," she said.

On religion, half of us think it should be taught in schools but that it should be an optional subject.