Karma yoga is yoga for idealists, humanitarians, activists, and ordinary people who want to pursue salvation but are unable to pursue monastic life. It seeks salvation through good works. These works can be social service or simply doing one’s job well. There is a catch, however: the karma yogi will gain nothing spiritually from his actions unless he performs them with no desire for the consequences of the actions, with no attachment to the action itself, and without viewing himself as its author, but rather, viewing God as the author of the action.
Prominent Los Angeles yoga teacher Bikram Choudhury clearly explains the role of karma yoga in attaining salvation:
Generally, a work brings as its effect or fruit either pleasure or pain. Each work adds a link to our bondage of Samsara and brings repeated births. This is the inexorable Law of Karma. But, through the practice of Karma Yoga, the effects of Karmas can be wiped out. Karma becomes barren. The same work, when done with the right mental attitude…does not add a link to our bondage. On the contrary, it purifies our heart and helps us to attain salvation through the descent of divine light or dawn of wisdom.8