"Swami Sivananda identified four paths of yoga: Karma, Bhakti, Raja, and Jnana. For the practicing yogi, one of these paths will emerge as his dominant one, but all are interconnected and work together as he embarks on his yoga journey.

Karma yoga is defined as the “yoga of action” and is the main path taken by those of an outgoing or extroverted nature. The yoga of selfless service, Karma yoga is performed without attachment to outcome. In other words, the Karma yogi expects nothing in return for his service to others. This nothing includes the absence of financial compensation or other material rewards and even the absence of intrinsic rewards.

Karma yoga opens our heart and dissolves the ego, so that we can serve not only the needy and underserved, but everyone, because they are all a reflection of ourselves. Just because Karma yoga isn’t a yogi’s dominant path does not mean that she should not incorporate its practice into her life.

A common misconception is that Karma yoga must relate to a yoga class, hence the incorporation of donation-based classes in studios everywhere; however, there are many ways to practice Karma yoga without ever teaching or participating in one of these classes. In truth and ideally, Karma yoga is something the yogi practices daily and is mindful of in each waking moment. How can we be more mindful and deliberate in practicing Karma yoga?"

Of the 4 Yogic Paths, Karma Yoga is the best place to Start—Here’s Why. — by Angela Still