This paper illustrates the construction of a new class of iterative solvers for power flow calculations based on the method of Alternating Search Directions. This method is fit to the particular algebraic structure of the power flow problem resulting from the combination of a globally linear set of equations and nonlinear local relations imposed by power conversion devices, such as loads and generators. The choice of the search directions is shown to be crucial for improving the overall robustness of the solver. A noteworthy advantage is that constant search directions yield stationary methods that, in contrast with Newton or Quasi-Newton methods, do not require the evaluation of the Jacobian matrix. Such directions can be elected to enforce the convergence to the high voltage operative solution. The method is explained through an intuitive example illustrating how the proposed generalized formulation is able to include other nonlinear solvers that are classically used for power flow analysis, thus offering a unified view on the topic. Numerical experiments are performed on publicly available benchmarks for large distribution and transmission systems.