Karma yoga is an attitude of how you perceive an action to be. If there is happiness and joy in doing the work, then that mental state is karma yoga. If there is unhappiness, dissatisfaction and anger and you say, “This is menial work, it is not for me,” then that is not karma yoga for the mind is different. Karma yoga is only managing the attitude and the behaviour of the mind, while karma is an expression of your ability. Whether you sweep, cook, work on the computer, in a business, in a shop, if there is joy, happiness and identification with what you are doing and feeling for what you are doing then that is karma yoga. However, if there is negation, rejection, sadness and suffering, then that is not karma yoga.
There is no need for a huge philosophy for karma yoga, or an intellectual analysis of karma and karma yoga. It is simple: karma yoga is joyous participation in life. The mind is happy, you are happy, emotions are happy. You are happy doing what you are doing, that is the joyous interaction in life. The moment you lose that joy and you feel dejected, depressed or anxious, it is not karma yoga. Then you become subject to the influences of the karma.
Karma yoga is not hard work. Karma yoga is a joyous expression of your interaction with life.
18 March 2012, Paduka Darshan, Munger